The sky was red and full of flares – meeting the traumatized children of Gaza


By Awni Farhat

No one can describe the immense misery and suffering that people living in the shelter centers and UNRWA schools are going through.

I had a strange feeling when I left home this morning. Mohamed, my nephew, was standing at the door waving his hands and saying goodbye and I was thinking, “What if I was murdered by an Israeli drone, what if it was our last goodbye? What if i came back home and it was destroyed by an F16?” Dozens of thoughts were going on in my mind.

I kept walking. In the narrow streets of Jabalia camp, kids are not playing as usual but hanging on to the grilles over their windows instead. They’re being kept in the homes as it’s not safe to be out. Their long-awaited summer vacation has turned into a nightmare of trauma, horror, death and poverty.


A few minutes later, I saw the funeral of the 4 people who were murdered after an Israeli attack hit their home last night in Jabalia. Two elderly aged over 65 were among them. All were from one family.

I asked one the young relatives who was walking on the street, what happened;

“They killed them, they killed them, with no warning calls, with no warning rockets, they killed them”, he kept repeating with sorrow and anger in his eyes.

Near the school, the girls ran to me when they saw me coming. Rahma walked fast by my side in bare feet, shouting to other girls, telling them to gather. She asked me:

“Why didn’t you come yesterday? We asked Ms. Hala about you!”

“I was working on another school”, I replied, “why don’t you wear shoes?”

She said ” I lost it when we fled from our house last Thursday night.”

Inside the school, children, men were lying on the floor and babies were crying. An old man held his young relative. Sigh.


Rahma Abu Hashish, 10 years old from Budain Village, in the far north of Gaza said;

“At first our father wouldn’t agree to flee, he thought that they might not start the ground incursion. But when they started shelling and firing flares, and after they cut and destroyed the electricity cables and pillars, he decided we should flee and leave our home. All our neighbors did the same.

We were walking all together after midnight in one line heading to the Jabalia camp and I looked back to our village. It was very dark down there but the sky was red and full of flares.”

Rahma’s cousin returned home to get clothes for the family, and was killed. Rahma remains at the school with her 6 brothers and 2 sisters.


Rahma (middle in picture)

As a part of my voluntary work in UNWRA schools, we are running activities with children taking shelter there. The families in the shelters are traumatized and the children need care and attention, as well as food, water and clothes.


Israeli occupation aggression continues for the 19th day which left about 802 Palestinians killed, mostly children and women. 5200 others were injured.

According to the last UNRWA report, the cumulative number of IDPs (Internally Displaced Palestinians) has exceeded 118,300. At least 72,390 children require direct and specialized psychosocial support (PSS) on the basis of families who have experienced death, injury or loss of home over the past 2 weeks.


About Author

Erin Gallagher is a multimedia artist, translator and writer for Revolution News.